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A cluttered and poorly organised website can drive away potential customers. This is especially true on websites that sell a large number of products. But, even a clumsy homepage without clear navigation can cause customers to go somewhere else. A site should be built with the user in mind. It should also be constructed with the understanding that some customers will not be as knowledgeable as others. Things like technical jargon and part numbers should not be required for the potential customer to find what he or she wants. Menus should be easy to grasp and search engines should not demand information that the customer might not have.
Websites must also be optimised for mobile interface. Images should be clear and undistorted and text should fit the screen, no matter the platform. A smartphone interactive site is a necessity.
Login credential failure can also discourage customers. While this can often be traced to over zealous protection against automated scripts and robots, it is sometimes an application flaw where the input software does not smoothly integrate with the verification software.
Even requiring the customer to create and memorize an overly complex password can be a problem. Not everyone writes their passwords down and while security is important, it must be balance by customer convenience.
eMail deliverability is more often predicated on the way the email is written than on inter-application connectivity. Avoiding flag-able words like “sex” and “free” and phrases like “as seen in” can keep emails out of the spam folder. And using red ink in the body of the text or all capital letters in the email subject line can actually cause some emails to be blocked.
It’s also important that critical functions on the website, such as locating products or inputting information, be as easy as possible. And, perhaps most important of all, the customer should never be forced to struggle with the checkout process. Complex checkouts that require customers to jump through hoops to make a purchase are perhaps the single biggest cause of shopping cart abandonment.
While industries that have been around a long time have developed sophisticated methods of quality control, the same can’t be said for the digital industry. There are two primary reasons for this. The digital industry is only a few decades old and has only existed in its present widespread form for little more than twenty-five years. It has also been subject to rapid expansion over its short history. These two factors have combined to raise the demand for website interface faster than quality control can evolve. However, like industries in the past, the digital industry continues to improve and innovations like agile and user acceptance testing continue to point toward a bright future.
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